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The Live Siren - Steve Hackett 2017

Steve Hackett 2017: The Live Siren

Jubilee factors and the desire for new things


When Steve Hackett first released an album called Genesis Revisited in 1996 and accompanied the release with a couple of shows in Japan (preserved on the Tokyo Tapes live album and DVD), who would have thought that he would return to this topic so many years later? Genesis Revisited II was, admittedly, tamer as far as new interpretations of the material are concerned, but the guest list was remarkable. Plus he used this opportunity to bring a big Genesis Revisited Show to the stage. Steve played more than 140 pure Genesis Revisited shows from 2013 to 2015, the last being at the Loreley, St Goarshausen, Germany, on July 19, 2015. By that time he was already also touring to promote his new solo album Wolflight. That tour, too, kept growing to roughly 100 shows in 2015 alone. The Wolflight shows were divided into two parts. Steve would first play classics from his solo career and a number of Wolflight songs. The second half was made up of Genesis classics that he had not played before.

In 2016 he spent the second half of the year working on a new album. A number of shows were announced in autumn. The Night Siren was to come out in late March 2017. Steve used the Cruise To The Edge 2017 as the starting point for the first part of the North American tour – at a time when the album had not even come out yet.

live 1He stayed true to himself – the first part of the set had new songs and Hackett classics. He also tried out some rarely played pieces like Serpentine Song and Rise Again. The second half catered to the Genesis fans, with a focus firmly on Wind & Wuthering. The North American leg of the tour was followed by shows in Europe. ...

 

Leipzig, 13th April 2017

Steve's concert in Leipzig was his last show in Germany. The band were well-rehearsed and “Das Haus Leipzig” was a new location for Hackett. Incidentally, Ray Wilson played there almost a year ago to the day. Before the show we had the opportunity to meet Steve and his wife backstage. Steve was in a great mood, enjoying the big attendance, though it was also obvious that he was looking forward to a day off after a stiff week of touring. He was still going to give it all in Leipzig. It showed the set list: Steve spontaneously played Horizons, a piece that rarely showed up on that leg of the tour.

live 3It was the standard set for the tour apart from that. Every Day, a classic that is usually played early in the show, was followed by a colourful variety of old and new Hackett songs, with just three pieces from his current album The Night Siren: El Nino, In The Skeleton Gallery and Behind The Smoke. It is up to you to decide what kind of choice this is. The audience enjoyed the songs – they would probably also have enjoyed Anything But Love, West To East or Inca Terra – which proves the high quality of the music on the new album. The Steppes was another classic solo song that used to be in the set before it was struck off for a more humane show length. The big surprise in the solo part was the Serpentine Song – a great choice and one of the best pieces on To Watch The Storms. Rise Again was also played as a representative of the bleak Darktown, which is considered one of Hackett's finest albums. The dynamism worked well – of course, he could have played any other song from that album as well, maybe Twice Around The Sun
The instrumental section of Shadow Of The Hierophant marked the transition into the Genesis half of the set. It still seems to me that this could have been one of the great Genesis classics. It may well be Steve's definitive guitar moment besides Firth Of Fifth.

live 4Nad Sylvan joined Steve on stage for the Genesis part, at the core of which were songs from the Wind & Wuthering era. Phil would sing the songs in a high voice and Nad found them rather challenging, in general because it is not his usual key and in particular because he had a bit of a cold. One For The Vine was an eye-opener, albeit in an unusual place: Steve's guitar work prompted many debates which parts in the original recording were played be the guitar, which parts were guitar-driven and which parts were not. The live version had far more guitars than you would have suspected. Inside And Out was almost tailor-made for Nad's voice. This brilliant song was a high point of the show. Afterglow had shivers running down my spine. Firth Of Fifth and The Musical Box brought the show to an end, before Los Endos, augmented with Myopia and Slogans, made up the encore. Huge applause everywhere ...


Setlist (from Leipzig, as a fairly typical example):

Every Day
El Nino
The Steppes
In The Skeleton Gallery
Behind The Smoke
Serpentine Song
Rise Again
Shadow Of The Hierophant
Eleventh Earl Of Mar
One For The Vine
Horizons
Blood On The Rooftops
In The Quiet Earth
Afterglow
Dance On A Volcano
Inside And Out
Firth Of Fifth
The Musical Box

Myopia / Slogans / Los Endos

 

Political Steve

live 5Steve made a number of conspicuous and unequivocal statements about the refugee crises and the way his home country handles it. He made no bones about his frustration with the Brexit, stressing that his is an immigrant family – and “those maniacs simply let my ancestors into the country, imagine that”. He was even more outspoken in Zoetermeer: “To those of you who don't have compassion for the refugees, fuck you!” This and other statements usually occurred when he announced Behind The Smoke, a song about the subject of refugees. Steve has rarely made direct political statements of the kind we would normally expect from Peter Gabriel. Steve being inspired by political events is by no means new, but people were (usually agreeably) surprised by the fact that he stated his opinion so clearly.

 

The spoiled fan

We ought to be hardly able to believe our luck. For years, our musical heroes have been on tour in some way or another. It feels as if Peter Gabriel has been on tour continuously since 2002. The Musical Box have not tired of touring Europe and North America. Mike + The Mechanics have been on tour since 2012, and now even Phil Collins is about to return to the stage.

live 6And Steve? Steve has rediscovered how much he enjoys touring since his private new start. There has hardly been a year without Hackett shows, and the concerts were frequently longer than two and a half hours. He treats us with supreme quality and hardly ever tones down his guitar work. For many fans he has become the last one to really hold up the Genesis flag. And yet this is the fans' dilemma: He is kind of always there, so you do not always feel the need to attend.

What's more, fans are never happy: There are too many Genesis songs, too few new songs, the wrong solo songs, the wrong Genesis songs and so on and so forth. Things are simple: People can get at you when you have high profile. Were Steve to stop touring, the outcry would be much bigger. Fans are never happy. But it would be insane to complain in the face of such an amount of high-quality material. Steve also keeps adding new material to an oeuvre that it unique in its versatility in the Genesis camp. Never before has Steve spoiled his fans like this. We should enjoy the ride, for it is going to end some time.


Author: Christian Gerhardts, English by Martin Klinkhardt
Fotos: Angéla and Maurizio Vicedomini for iconphoto.ch

Links:
Cruise To The Edge 2017 - concert reports
Steve Hackett live - dates 2017 and beyond


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